Excursion 6: Water, water everywhere!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Putting away dishes in the morning. Movement, gestures. Every moment is a meditation. Each action a dance.

Perhaps this time here is really a way to collect these various forms of documenting which I’m already doing on a regular basis (taking photographs, making videos, writing notes) and culling through them all to find connections and make some larger sense of it all?

We make a point of leaving extra early to get to Av do Contorno & Rua San Paulo by 10AM to meet Pedro, a young student from Belo appointed to work with us as an assistant. We aren’t quite sure what to do with him, but he seems very enthusiastic about joining us on our excursion. A taxi drops us off by 9:45AM right by the taxi car wash where we ended our previous excursion. There’s a cart filled with cardboard tied neatly with a knot on the corner.

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The taxi washers are already busy at work by then. We stand there for a while along the wall waiting for Pedro along with the taxi drivers waiting for their cars to be washed. Then we walk down the street to see where they were pulling the electricity from to run the shop vac. There’s a small shed building that has an outlet of the outside. I notice there is a taxi logo painted on the outside of the building reminiscent of the red triangular design of the flag of Minas Gerais.

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As I take a few photos, I hear a voice emerge from inside the shed and look up to see a man’s face through the grate. I deduct that he’s stuck inside, as he folds his hands near his face in a pleading gesture and asks to get his friend who’s down the street with the key to open the door for him. By the time I made it half-way down the block someone had already opened the door for him, but he still thanked me profusely! I guess this building may be a comfort station for the taxi drivers. 

While waiting for Pedro, I decide to ask one of the taxi washers if I can film.  I don’t have the waterproof case for the camera with me, but still it’s fun to film the water and the suds.

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By the time I make it back to the other corner, Pedro has arrived, so we head on our way. Pedro tells us that this is the corner where Steffania’s school is, or rather the school that her project is based on. It was a bit odd walking around with Pedro initially because we felt the need to converse with him rather than continue in our own grove that we’ve developed in which we give each other space to explore and meet up and overlap at certain points, without being on top of each other. We seemed to intuitively tag team with one of us talking with Pedro and the other wandering off to take photos. We joked with him, that with the two of us we don’t really get very far with one of us or the other stopping to photograph something.

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As I stop to take a few photos of the drawings in between these arches, two ladies walk by (perhaps a mother and daughter) and say something along the lines of inquiring if they should stop to apply makeup before passing in front of the camera. I tell them they are beautiful just as they are, no make-up necessary.

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By the time we reached Av Cristovao Colombo, I needed to use the bathroom, and Pedro suggested Patio Savassi, a shopping mall across the street. Outside of the mall a man and woman were set up on a blanket selling jewelery they made. It turns out she was Argentinian, who turned to me and say, You speak Spanish! And here I am killing myself in Portuguese!” She made jewelry out of macrame and stones and her boyfriend, who I believe she said was from Bahia made jewelry from pressed wire. I bought a pair of earrings he made for 25 real. They were a sweet couple and I kind of liked them and wanted to support them. From there, we headed into the mall which was certainly a contrast from the other shopping markets we’d been to on our other excursions. This one was very fancy, full of very expensive and international shops, L’Occitane, Rolex, and Outback Steakhouse were a few that I recognized and remembered. The place felt like an airport but the bathrooms were spacious and clean.

Pedro asks if we want to keep going, and I explain to him that we’re not racing to walk the whole Contorno but rather taking out time exploring, photographing etc… it’s still early but instead we suggest sitting down for a beer. Pilar spots a place across the street and we head over to a little spot on the corner that had a couple of tables set up in the driveway where we sat, shared a couple for beers and had a chance to talk. BY then we were staring to get hungry and made our way over to try out the Savassi location of Bem Natural. The food was just as good as our home location, and perhaps the selection was slightly larger and there was really nice seating partially outside in the back. We treated Pedro to lunch with our accumulated rewards stickers from our previous lunches.

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On the way back home, we finally see the Niemeyer building and Praça da Liberdade and sit down on the grass to rest our legs for just a moment and suddenly the sprinklers go off!

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